"I will fight to protect access to Democracy -- Our fundamental right to vote."
We must fight back against efforts to undermine the will of the people and protect the right of every Michigander to vote. Michigan saw its largest ever voter turnout in 2020. Efforts by some groups to allege fraud have been refuted time and again by legislative committees, judges in multiple cases, and investigations by reporters. Republican legislators have introduced more than 39 bills seeking to roll back these rights. This effort comes on the heels of a historically successful election, where more than 5.5 million Michiganders exercised their constitutional right to vote — the most ever and the highest percentage of voting-age residents to cast a ballot in 60 years. As elected officials ourselves, we have a duty to listen to the voices of the voters who put us in office by standing up for the will of the people.
Educational Opportunity for All
As a community college instructor, university trustee, and former college administrator, I have the opportunity to see higher education from all sides. I have through my years of experience that we can absolutely do better. We must do better.
We have a choice when it comes to providing education for Michigan residents. We can choose to continue the decades of disinvestment in public education, or we can choose to prioritize students and teachers. I believe in a Michigan that provides equitable funding to K-12 schools, free community college, and that significantly greater investment in our world-class universities.
I look forward to having conversations with students, teachers, families, and our community over the course of this campaign to develop a comprehensive position on improving education in our state.
Protecting Worker Rights & Economic Justice
I will work to strengthen our local economy by creating livable wage jobs. We must support the growth of local businesses and attract new companies and employers. We must also support, strengthen and partner with our labor unions to improve wages and working conditions. As part of this strategy, we must invest in education and job training. Working together through cooperative partnerships between government, businesses, labor, and nonprofits is key to ensuring the success of our region.
I will stand firm to protect the rights of working people and our rights to collective bargaining. As the son of a laborer and former union member, I know how important our unions are, not just to members but to all working people. I will also seek to work closely with and support our local labor unions, which serve a vital role in representing and advocating for workers and families throughout our community.
Environmental Justice – Protecting Clean Air, Water & Land
I support investing in our infrastructure and neighborhoods to get us to carbon-neutral and ensure long-term resilience for Michigan. From cleaning up PFAS to the Gelman Dioxane Plume, we have a lot of work to do here in our community and throughout the state. I was proud to help lead the Board of Commissioners in declaring an ambitious goal of achieving a carbon-neutral county by 2030 and establishing the first-ever Environmental Council to develop a Climate Action plan to achieve that goal.
We must maintain our roads, sidewalks, and drainage systems while protecting our parks, water, and open spaces. Our community is enriched by the Huron River, a robust parks system, and beautiful natural spaces which provide for recreation and a healthier natural environment. We must maintain and invest in the health and sustainability of these resources.
Advancing Social Justice, Equality & Equity
We have been making great strides under Governor Whitmer's leadership toward a more equitable and pro-equality future, but we have a long way to go. Legislatively, Michigan is decades behind when it comes to protections for our LGBTQ+ community, particularly our transgender residents, and reproductive rights. I've been very proud to help lead our county effort to recognize Transgender Day of Visibility and Pride month each year, and to introduce the county's first-ever Equity and Inclusion Statement, and Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy.
We've also barely scratched the surface in unraveling centuries of inequitable and in many cases racist policies in our state. Here in Washtenaw County, we've taken great care to establish an office of racial equity, gather data, and start ensuring a more equitable community. I plan to work with Representative Brabec to do just as we've done together here in Washtenaw County, and work to pass legislation to make our state a better place to live for all Michiganders, working to make our basic needs more equitable, from housing, employment, and more.
Quality Healthcare for All
I believe we need a single-payer healthcare system in the United States and we need, at the very least, a quality, affordable public option. If elected, it will be my mission to do everything I can to ensure healthcare access for all Michiganders at the state level. The State of Colorado showed us a model for making this possible just this year, in 2021. Ensuring healthcare is not an issue of whether it is possible, it is an issue of whether we are willing. We can lower costs for residents, businesses, and local governments while improving care and health outcomes.
Providing healthcare is not enough when it comes to protecting our health these days, with the coronavirus pandemic showing us how vital county public health departments are to our communities and state. I plan to work to dramatically increase state support for public health, mental health and other critically-needed human services for our residents. We know too well here in Washtenaw County how economic and racial inequality can lead to significant health disparities. I will seek to take meaningful action to reduce these inequities here in our community and across Michigan.